I've never had the privilege of doing the school run in my 30-something years on this planet, but I was gleefully introduced to it after four months of being a "manny".
My school run adventure started a few weeks ago, when I joined millions of other parents and carers around the UK who had already headed back in to the cauldron of school runs since the summer break.
So it commenced
To be perfectly honest, I'm 'running' around way before the 'school' part, when I arrive at the family's house at 7:30am.
If the baby and eldest have risen from their lairs and are downstairs, I'm thrown straight in to the front line - one which soon evolves into the opening beach scene from Saving Private Ryan.
Our standard morning routine
Make breakfast for the baby; feed baby; encourage the eldest to join us for breakfast; dress baby; encourage eldest to have his breakfast; prepare school bag; insist on eldest sitting down for his breakfast; change baby's nappy due to sudden out-of-the-blue poo; encourage eldest to get dressed; run upstairs to grab miscellaneous items; encourage eldest to get dressed; fill up his water bottle; insist on the eldest getting dressed.
Encourage eldest to brush his teeth; pick the baby up for a cuddle; encourage eldest to brush his teeth; place baby in play room; insist on eldest brushing his teeth; encourage eldest to put on his shoes; put baby's shoes on; take 10 seconds to think of anything I may have missed out; notice baby' left shoe has fallen off and is lying alone in the hall; insist on eldest to put on his shoes; all three of us meander our way to my car for the official start of the 'school run'.
I then notice the baby's right shoe has fallen off and is sitting, laughing at me in the driveway as I reverse out.
School run - day one
Upon arriving within the school vicinity, the first thing I notice is the lack of suitable nearby parking, which is fine. After all, in an ideal world, kids should walk to their primary school. But modern schooling placement systems dictate otherwise...
I see a bus become stuck trying to wriggle its way between two parked cars on the same road as the school. An ominous sign for my new world of school drop-offs and pick-ups. At first, my parking confidence was nervous - hence why I parked a six hour walk from the school. Explaining this to a kid currently going through the life-changing world of beginning his education, is never going to go down well. It didn't.
A parking pest and the lollipop lady
Two weeks on, and my increased parking confidence has meant I am now a ruthless jerk; wheels on curbs and everything. Pretty much a school run criminal - the naughtiest I have ever been. Lock me up. Other criminal parents do the same. I joined this unruly mob.
As we shuffle toward the school gate I notice the incredibly reassuring sight of a lollipop lady in full view. She acts as a lighthouse for lost or stranded parents. This comforting icon immediately brought me back to my childhood. A time of walking beside my mum, holding my Hulk Hogan lunchbox, filled to the brim with a peanut butter sandwich - with butter - a penguin, a packet of Hula Hoops crisps and a Munch Bunch yoghurt. What a lovely part of the day these joyous, happy people bring. A little helping hand to cross a busy road. I thank you.
The festival of learning
Once we cross said road, we are greeted with a human traffic jam to actually enter the school grounds. Pretty much 1 in 1 out. It felt like we were going to a children's Glastonbury. It wasn't, it was school, the festival of learning.
You are then greeted with an overpowering bellowing noise of millions of people mingling within the main stage awaiting the headline act - the teaching assistant to open the classroom door.
A tsunami of kids are thrusted, pushed and dragged toward their educational beginning; they enter and pass the security checkpoints and leave their parents, siblings, dogs, fish and previous life behind.
No messing around
A huge majority of parents remain - they mingle, chat, laugh, cry, shout. I do not. I say goodbye to the eldest, turn around and walk back to the car, with the baby, obviously. No messing around; no talking to others. In and out. Kind of like when I used to do the Christmas shopping for my mum as a teenager: enter the shop, find suitable item for mum, pay, walk out, home.
After the drop off, the baby and I return home for a drink and some fun... avoiding the stuck bus.
Take a peek at my other experiences as a Manny by checking out my monthly posts on Tinies